Attracting and retaining talented employees is one of the greatest challenges business owners face. Here are 5 simple but proven strategies for creating and maintaining a happy and productive workforce.

    1. Treat your employees as the valued assets that they are!


In today’s competitive marketplace, paying fair and competitive wages and benefits, while important, is often not enough. Savvy business owners also strive to create a flexible and “employee-friendly” work environment. Transparency is key here. Written employee policies that are widely communicated and fairly implemented convey the message to your employees that you don’t play favorites. Find creative ways to show your staff how much you appreciate them. Awards and other recognition for jobs well done, highlights of employee accomplishments in the company newsletter, and/or recognition at corporate events for significant employee milestones, are all proven strategies that not only demonstrate your appreciation of your employees, but also create a satisfying work environment that fosters employee loyalty.


    1. Hire people who know more than you do, and let them do their thing!!


Although you may be the owner or CEO, recognize that you don’t know – and can’t do alone – everything that your company needs to succeed. Seeking out the best and brightest minds that you can find is critical to a company’s ongoing success. Embrace people who know more than you do about areas critical to your business success, and give them room to do what they do best. Micro-managing is a sure way to undermine, and ultimately, to drive away bright and creative employees. Don’t be threatened by what they know that you may not know. Instead, learn from them and let them know how much you value what they bring to the table. In doing so, everyone prospers.


    1.  Encourage and promote collaborative and inclusive work teams. 


While inter-office competition among employees is not uncommon in many workplaces, collaboration and inclusion are increasingly becoming the hallmarks of a successful and productive 21st century workplace. In today’s diverse and hyper-connective world, more and more employees are seeking – even demanding– creative ways to collaborate with and learn from their co-workers. As a result, forward thinking employers promote cross-company task forces that allow staff from different parts of the company to work together toward a common goal. These business owners understand the value of teamwork, and of leading by example. They want their employees to see them participating in corporate initiatives under some else’s leadership. They also insist on cross training staff who work on joint projects so that these team members can fill in for each other and better appreciate their co-workers’ role in the company.


    1. Communicate Openly and Regularly


Poor workplace communication is one of the biggest contributors to employee dissatisfaction and high turnover. An uninformed workplace only fosters rumors and speculation that can undermine productivity and growth. Keeping employees informed of major company priorities and developments as they happen is essential to the long term growth and stability of any 21st century company. Strategies such as regular staff meetings or teleconferences, intranet communications, company blogs or podcasts, and employee newsletters are all effective ways to ensure that employees feel connected to and good about the company they work for.


    1. Model high ethical standards and impeccable integrity in YOUR BEHAVIOR, not just on paper!


High-performing companies understand that corporate integrity and uncompromising ethical standards are critical to employee and customer commitment. Accordingly, they often have a zero tolerance policy for unethical behavior, such as kickbacks, bait and switch, conflicts of interest, etc. Business owners who actively demonstrate high ethical standards themselves, and who insist on regularly communicating a written code of ethics that is rigorously followed, are most likely to attract and retain high performing employees. These are the type of employees who set high standards for themselves, and who seek the same from the companies they work for.


Closing Thought:

Remember, as the boss, you are the greatest influencer of your workplace, including your employees’ level of satisfaction and productivity. Use that power and influence wisely. The rewards will fuel your continued success.